USA Weightlifting Announces 2016 Annual Awards

On Friday, January 6th, USA Weightlifting (USAW) announced their annual award winners for 2016 that recognize coaches and athletes (of various age groups) for significant performances throughout the year. All nominees were nominated by the presidents of their local weightlifting committee (LWC) in their region of the country, and voted on by the USAW Board of Directors – except for three of the ten awards announced. The recipients will receive their awards at a ceremony this May in Chicago at the USAW National Championships.

Check out USA Weightlifting’s full announcement here; we’ve also provided summaries of each award and recipient below.

The Mabel Rader Award for Outstanding Contribution to Women’s Weightlifting – Sarah Robles (Team Houston – Desert Hot Springs, CA)

Robles ended the 16 year drought for American weightlifters winning Olympic Medals when she went six for six at the Olympic Games this summer and won a bronze medal in the 75+KG category. The two-time Olympian also won the Rio Test event that was held in April, where she was victorious over athletes from South America and Asia.

The Anthony Terlazzo Award for Outstanding Male Senior Athlete – Kendrick Farris (LSU Shreveport – Shreveport, LA)

Farris, who placed 11th at this summer’s Olympic Games in Brazil, had the top year of competition of any male weightlifter in the USA. In addition to qualifying as America’s sole male Olympian – his third trip to the Olympic Games — he also was the gold medalist of the Pan American Championships. He won the USA National Championships this past May in Salt Lake City, where he lifted a combined 377KG (829lb) total for a new American Record in the 94KG category.

The Tara Nott Award for Outstanding Female Senior Athlete – Morghan King (Unattached – Seattle, WA)

King, who qualified for her first Olympic Games in 2016, won this award by finishing in 6th place overall in the 48KG category in Brazil where she lifted 83KG (183lb) in the snatch that set a new American Record in the lift. The previous record was actually held by 2000 Olympic Champion Tara Nott and was set 16 years ago.

The Rudy Sablo Award for Outstanding Junior Male Athlete – CJ Cummings (Team Savannah – Beaufort, SC)

Cummings, quite simply, had the best year ever of ANY American weightlifter in quite a long time. Not content to simply set the first World Record for any American Male since 1970 — which he did at Junior World Championships in June with a 180KG (396lb) Clean & Jerk — Cummings re-set the World Record again with a 182KG (400lb) lift in October. Along the way, he won the Youth and Junior aged World Championships, along with just about every other competition he competed in throughout the year.

The Jack Hughes Award for Outstanding Junior Female Athlete – Hayley Reichardt (Garage Strength – Leesport, PA)

Reichardt won the first ever medal for an American Woman at the Youth World Championships in 2016, when she totaled 152KG (334lb) to win a bronze medal in the 48KG category. In February of this year she successfully made all six of her attempts to set new Junior and Youth American records, she finished the year winning a bronze medal at the American Open and extending her Youth American records,

The Gordon Andrews Award for Outstanding Contribution to Men’s Weightlifting – Dr Kyle Pierce (LSU Shreveport – Shreveport, LA)

The Gayle Hatch Coaching Award for Coach of the Year (Male) – Dr Kyle Pierce (LSU Shreveport – Shreveport, LA)

Dr. Kyle Pierce is the recipient of two prestigious awards, as he has been recognized for outstanding contributions to men’s weightlifting and coaching of a male athlete. As a contributor to the sport of weightlifting, Pierce has worn many hats. For many years, he has been the Head Coach and Director of the High Performance Center at Louisiana State University- Shreveport. He has been the meet director of many national events for USAW during this time, and several Pan American Championship events have been held in his facility. Over the last several years, he has works as a coach, advisor and consultant for the African country of Ghana as they work to build a program. He sits on several International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) committees revolving around coaching and technical aspects, as well as the Pan American Weightlifting Federation (PAWF) Board of Directors.

The Gayle Hatch Award is awarded to the coach of the top ranked athlete at the World Championship or Olympic Games at the time of the competition, which was Kendrick Farris this past year. In addition, he has coached and developed many athletes who have competed internationally over his career. In recent years, Zach Schluender (105+KG) placed 29th at the 2011 World Championships and Erin Andica (nee Wallace) (75KG) placed 18th; respectively, at the 2010 World Championships.

The Gayle Hatch Coaching Award for Coach of the Year (Female) – Shahin Nasirinia (Unattached – Scottsdale, AZ)

The Gayle Hatch Award is awarded to the coach of the top ranked athlete at the World Championship or Olympic Games at the time of the competition, which was Morghan King this past year. As the current coach of record for King, he has been working with her for the past year as she went from placing 23rd at the 2015 World Championships to 6th at the Olympic Games and setting an American Record. Nasirinia himself is a former World Champion for his native country of Iran, and he has coached Alex Lee, himself an American Record holder for many years. He also has worked with top athletes from Iran and Mexico.

The Larry Barnholth Award for Coaching Excellence – Dane Miller (Garage Strength – Leesport, PA)

Miller, who is a former shot putter at Penn State University and a relatively new coach in the sport of weightlifting, has produced a significant number of up and coming athletes in his short time. This past year, he coached Jacob Horst to win the USA National Championship, and he served as a coach for the IWF Youth World Championships in Penang, Malaysia where Team USA had a record breaking performance. Two of the athletes he coaches personally qualified for the team; Hayley Reichardt who won a bronze medal and Dale Loch.

The Hoffman Award for Outstanding LWC Performance – Pacific Weightlifting Association (PWA)

This award is a point’s based system based on international meet results and domestic meet medalists. The PWA had a great year, qualifying athletes to every international team other than the Olympic Games; highlighted by Donovan Ford’s 2nd place finish at the Pan American Championships. In addition Megan Seegert and Wes Kitts amongst others delivered American Records for the LWC.

Featured image: @USA_Weightlifting on Instagram